In 2040, Africa will be the continent with the largest workforce in the world. However, today’s job prospects are insufficient for the working-age population, and formal jobs cannot absorb this increasingly talented and creative body of workers. Entrepreneurship is a promising approach to “transform job seekers into job creators”, hence the challenge – How can Africa’s enterprising youths become sustainable job creators? Young Africans want entrepreneurship to do three things: make a decent living, solve ‘wicked’ problems profitably and ultimately build investable businesses. To do that, they need better technical and business skills.
Technology hubs such as incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces have come up to address the skills gap, providing support services and access to critical infrastructure like working spaces and high-speed internet for entrepreneurs to get from idea to market. For investors, access to portals where they can find credible and validated investment-ready start-ups are a critical short and long-term need. However, the supply of investment capital in SSA remains significantly mismatched with demand from validated small and medium enterprises.
These problems suggest that the synergy among innovation ecosystem members is weak. So Lagos Business School, Henley Business School (University of Reading) and Semicolon Africa have come together to transform Africa’s enterprising youth into sustainable and investable job creators through the Nexus Project. The Project aims to connect the ‘research economy’ and the ‘market economy’ (industry stakeholders) by bringing training, investment and networks together.
By consolidating the connection between the ‘research economy’ (African Universities that can provide validated management knowledge) and the ‘market economy’ (investors and the tech hubs who can provide market support), through a multi-stakeholder collaboration such as this consortium, the high volume of entrepreneurship activities on the continent will benefit from the right level of skills, knowledge and better functioning ecosystem that can catalyse change and drive economic growth.
More about Innovation for African Universities
The Innovation for African Universities (IAU) project, part of the British Council’s Going Global Partnerships programme, seeks to foster the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within universities and facilitate the development of skills required to build industries, companies, products and services in Africa. The IAU programme is implemented by the Centre of Excellence (CoE), a partnership between the City, University of London, University of Nairobi, and ChangeSchool UK. The Programme comprises 24 UK universities, Sub-Saharan African universities, and entrepreneurial ecosystem organisations. The Programme is running in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.
To find out more: https://bit.ly/3hUjYdL
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